Ulke, Henry (Deceased)
Henry was born in Frankestein, Germany, in 1821. His father was a prominent naturalist and in 1849, he came to this country with Henry. His father soon returned to Germany, and young Henry came to Washington, where his talent as an artist soon gained recognition. He was also known as a music critic. Henry belonged to the first generation of American Coleopterists, having been a charter member of the Entomological Society of Philadelphia and was closely associated with the men of that day, such as Leconte, Horn, Ridings, Bland, Cresson, Wenzel, Wilt, and Feldman. He was a noted collector, particularly of the smaller Coleoptera, such as the Pselaphidae, Scydmaenidae and Sllphidae, and also a master in technic. His collection and material were frequently used by the systematists of the time. Many references to it will be found in the writings of Cresson, Leconte, and Horn, as well as in those of Dicta and others. Many rare and interesting specimens were presented by him to the collection of the American Entomological Society, the first lot being donated in 1861. He was the owner of a famous collection of Coleoptera, the work of a lifetime. It is now in the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He had a large circle of scientific friends and was admired and respected by all. Perhaps no portrait painter in this country was better known in the last generation than Henry Ulke. He was a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln, portraits of many of whose cabinet members he painted. Until the building of the new executive offices, one of Henry's most famous portraits, that of President Grant, hung in the private office of the President. It now hangs with the White House collection, in the long gallery. Henry painted more than zoo portraits, notable among them being those of Secretaries Sumner, Chase, and Stanton, of Lincoln's cabinet; James G. Blaine, John G. Carlisle, Carl Schurz, John Sherman, and Chief Justice Taney of the Supreme Court; Robert Ingersoll; and W. W. Corcoran, founder of the art gallery that bears his name. The famous evolution theorist, Alfred Russell Wallace, visited Washington, D.C., in 1886 and 1887 and in a diary entry he enthused about the architecture of the city and noted that he had seen "Mr Ulke's collection of American beetles -- Fine!" Henry died at 8 o'clock, February 18, 1910, in Emergency Hospital, at Washington, D.C., of a concussion of the brain, due to a fall at his home, 411 Fifteenth Street Northwest. At the time of the accident that caused his death Henry was, considering his advanced age, in excellent health. He had fallen and struck the side of his head against a door. He was found by his son in an unconscious condition, and was taken to the hospital, where he died without regaining consciousness. He had three sons. Henry was awarded an honorary membership in the Club in 1904.